On 10/11/13

Bonnie Wrote to the Barrie Examiner

 Dear Editor,

 I’m writing this letter in response to the letter to the Editor in the paper on Wednesday October 9, 2013:

 As a representative of City Council, I wanted to clarify the tough decision we as Council made recently with respect to changes to the garbage collection. I would like to add for consideration that when Members of Council make a decision they have the dual responsibility of considering the best interest of their Constituents as well as (corporate) community consequence and benefit.

 I was referencing the large number of student houses in the area in my “no business” comment because unfortunately even getting the garbage to the curb on the right day seems to present a problem for some.  The bi-weekly pick-up vote was unanimous by Council and I hope everyone will get one or two green bins and take organics to the curb weekly.

 In January 2011, Barrie began work on a long term Strategy for changes to our waste collection and diversion systems over the next 20 years in an effort to prolong the life of our landfill. The cost of closing a landfill is estimated at over $6.5 million. After closure it is estimated that the cost of the closed landfill will be approximately $500,000/year for the first 25 years. 

 The new changes to curb side collection are not only financially responsible—they are environmentally responsible and need to be part of our long term sustainable growth. The Barrie landfill has a limited amount of space. Without changes the landfill will last until 2017and bi-weekly garbage collection coupled with other initiatives will stretch the life of the landfill out to 2035.  By moving to every other week garbage pick-up, but continuing to pick up organic waste and recycling every week we hope more people will start using their green bin and therefore divert more waste from our landfill.

 Council did make changes to the staff proposed plan in order to address many of the concerns raised by residents.  For example: the two bags every other week garbage pick- up would start in January 2015.  The winter start date for the new garbage program will help residents get acquainted with the new service before summer arrives. 

  As part of these changes, we are also adding more items which can be recycled as part of the blue and grey bin program such as film plastic, including plastic bags and empty paint and aerosol cans. These new items can be added as of April 2014.

 Council also asked staff to report back to General Committee regarding possible alternative handling of diapers and pet waste.

 Green bins, and all recyclables will continue to be picked up every week.  The only thing that will move to bi-weekly pick up is the items which cannot be put in the green bin or the blue and grey bins. Most items that typically start to smell over time can be put in the green bin and will be picked up weekly.

 We know this decision will require effort by residents, but will result in a longer life for our landfill and significant cost savings to taxpayers. 

 Any resident looking to get another green bin or recycling box can call 705-739-4219. Barrie residents can also pick up another green, grey or blue bin by visiting the Environmental Centre, located at 272 Ferndale Drive North, Monday to Saturday from 8:30-4:30pm. Residents can put out as many green organic or recycling bins as needed that will be picked up weekly providing they do not exceed the weight restriction of 20kgs (45lbs).

 Councillor Bonnie Ainsworth